Roman Polanski, Pay Your Debt to Society

From the frills of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, liberal elites from around the world stand in defense of convicted sex offender Roman Polanski. Polanski was charged and convicted in the late 1970s of having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl and then fled the U.S. before his sentencing. Living as a fugitive from justice in the non-extraditing country of France, Polanski has continued with his filmmaking career until recently traveling to receive movie awards in Switzerland, where he was held on house arrest pending a potential transfer back to the U.S. for sentencing on his 1970s sex crime. As additional allegations of sexual misconduct are being leveled at the filmmaker, just what should be the emphasis of the Polanski story?

Unfortunately, this story is not about criminals that take the innocence from children and the triumphs and failures of the criminal justice system in penalizing such activities. In reality, the Polanski story is about the continual battle for supremacy between the liberal and conservative ideologies in the modern world. The United States, being framed with conservative values, has a criminal justice system, even with all its imperfections, that is constructed on the concept of personal accountability. Within our ideological system, Roman Polanski had not paid his debt to society when he fled to felon-friendly France. It is as simple as that.

However, to the liberal mind, personal accountability is much more negotiable, and some find more than enough “wiggle room” when it comes to what truly is punishment for Polanski’s crimes. The Associated Press reports that actor Woody Allen told a French radio station, “It’s something that happened many years ago… He has suffered…. He has paid his due.” Allen further stated, “He’s an artist, he’s a nice person, he did something wrong and he paid for it. They (his critics) are not happy unless he pays the rest of his life.” Woody Allen’s words are painful to hear for more reasons than the obvious fact that this actor’s life has had more immoral outgrowths than a soiled Petri dish left out in the summer sun. Allen’s defense of Polanski marks the total disconnect that modern liberals have from accountability.

It should be stated that Hollywood and European liberals alike follow the same mindset as Woody Allen that Polanski is more victim than criminal. To these disconnected liberals, prima-facie evidence of Polanski’s suffering is apparent to them because in hiding from his sentence in the U.S., he has been denied total freedom to travel. I guess it is true that the filmmaker has been denied the penthouses and fancy cars of America and has been reduced to merely basking in the penthouses and fancy cars of other countries. Allen highlights the liberal mentality that Polanski’s time-evading justice mitigates the crime itself as well as the fact that this felon is a nice guy who has a talent for making movies. When it comes to the court’s sentencing for sex crimes with a 13-year-old girl versus the filmmaker’s continued freedom, liberals judge the debt to society as being paid in full. This is shameful.

 If you share this moral relativistic view you are not alone, but make no mistake, you would be a liberal. Personal accountability dictates that Polanski must pay his debt to society as would any other non-award winner. You can pity the downfall of a talented soul. I do, as Polanski’s film “Rosemary’s Baby” is still one of my classic favorites. I recommend this fine film to as many eager eyes as possible. Who knows, maybe they still have a movie night in prison and the filmmaker can share a few special insights with fellow inmates as he squares his debt with society.

Paul A. Ibbetson is a published author, lecturer, and radio host. He can be contacted at [email protected]